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The balance of immune cells controlling inflammatory and anti-inflammatory reactions is important for barrier in the gut tract

The intestines play an important role in separating the inside and the outside of the body. One layer of aligned cells called “intestinal epithelial cells” is covered by a layer of “mucosal membrane”. These cells and the mucosal membranes are responsible for a defense network called the “intestinal barrier”. It prevents foreign substances such as food additives, pathogenic bacteria, and toxins produced by bad bacteria in the intestines to enter the body.

If the barrier is damaged, inflammation occurs in the intestines and that will be a trigger of many different intestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, colon cancer, and allergic reactions including asthma and hay fever. In addition, research results have shown that when the barrier is damaged, toxins and pathogenic bacteria enter the blood vessels which will in turn cause systemic and brain diseases.

The immune system usually balances “inflammation” for aggression and “anti-inflammation” for suppression. The word “inflammation” may give you an image of very bad performance. However, when pathogenic bacteria or toxins try to enter the body, they are being repelled by inflammatory effects. In other words, inflammation is an important defense for the body. The anti-inflammatory effect is monitoring the inflammatory functions so that such functions do not exceed their purpose of defending the body from exogenous substances.

However, researches have shown that aging and disorders in diet and lifestyle habits can cause a minor but chronic inflammation in the body. Continued exposure to chemicals and additives over the course of a long life contributes to chronic inflammation. When this chronic inflammation is accumulated, the risk of diseases such as arteriosclerosis, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease get higher. Therefore, it is very important to activate the anti- inflammatory immune system and make the intestinal barrier work properly.

Let’s promote the next generation of good bacteria!
Dietary fiber can increase butyrate producing bacteria

Intestinal bacteria are involved in an anti-inflammation immune function. Bacteria which produce butyrate are particularly rising attention as the next generation of good bacteria. It has been reported that butyrate can restore the cells and mucous membranes of the intestines which were damaged by inflammation, and can enhance the anti-inflammatory immune system.

Butyrate producing bacteria cannot live in an environment with oxygen. Therefore, it cannot be taken from outside the body like lactic acid bacteria. The butyrate producing bacteria living in the intestines actively work after being fed with dietary fiber, indigestible starch etc. which cannot be digested by human digestive enzymes. There are various types of dietary fiber. Water-soluble dietary fiber (highly fermentable) increases the numbers of butyrate producing bacteria and insoluble dietary fiber promotes bowel movements. Both fibers are important to take care of butyrate producing bacteria. Moreover, moderate exercise and sleep also increase the numbers of butyrate producing bacteria. They are important for our body as they are called a barometer for the intestinal health.

Soluble dietary fiber with fermentation capacity is food for butyrate producing bacteria

Dietary fiber includes insoluble dietary fiber and water-soluble dietary fiber. Among the water-soluble dietary fibers, the one that has a high fermentation capacity and viscosity properties becomes the food for butyrate producing bacteria. Just for your reference, we listed some examples of insoluble and water-soluble dietary fiber.

  • Characteristics of insoluble-dietary fiber
    Insoluble dietary fiber literally does not dissolve in water. It contains water in it and tends to be swollen. Then, it promotes bowel movements by increasing the volume of stool.
  • Characteristics of water-soluble dietary fiber
    Water-soluble dietary fiber literally dissolves easily in water. It can be foods for intestinal bacteria and promotes the synthesis of short-chain fatty acids.

Introducing a test using OM-X extract

Ingestion of OM-X extract restores intestinal barrier and increases butyrate producing bacteria. In this study, the OM-X extract was applied to mice model with enteritis infected by pathogenic bacteria. Subsequently, its anti-inflammatory effect and changes in butyrate producing bacteria were verified.

As a result, the administration of OM-X extract increased the genes that are involved in the intestinal barrier. The destruction of intestinal epithelial cells due to enteritis was prominently recovered.

In addition, the administration of OM-X extract increased the genes that synthesize butyrate. It means that butyrate producing bacteria grew its numbers in the intestines.

Improvement of gut after taking OM-X

Credit to: Muneaki Takahata Ph.,D.